Wimbledon might be over for another year (boo) but could tennis be the key to a happier and healthier lifestyle?
Summer is the time of year that has everyone questioning their health. Winter rolls into spring, spring to summer — and before you know it, it’s a scorching hot day and you’re regretting some past decisions.
But it isn’t too late, and with this cracking British summer comes many an opportunity to get healthy while having some fun. Sport is a great way to do just that, and this year’s Wimbledon has got everyone talking tennis…
Serve, volley and backhand your way to a longer life
A bit of time on the court can go a long way to fighting against some of the most common ailments for over-50s.
For women, the regular exercise tennis provides can strengthen not only your muscles but your bones too. That means reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, conditions that affect millions of women across the UK.
For both men and women, the mental health benefits of a good game of tennis are plentiful
Men are at a higher risk of carrying extra visceral fat that can lead to diabetes or heart disease. Getting active through tennis can help to shed some of that extra weight, lowering body fat for a happier and healthier lifestyle.
For both men and women, the mental health benefits of a good game of tennis are plentiful. Exercise increases the levels of serotonin the brain, which coupled with the social nature of the sport can have great results.
A new survey by Local Tennis Leagues (LTL) has shown just how effective tennis can be — 88% of participants over 50 claiming to feel fitter after joining a league, and 83% reporting improved mental health.
Sporting sociably with Local Tennis Leagues
Local Tennis Leagues is an organisation keen to get more people playing. With nearly 200 mixed-sex leagues across the country, people of any ability can come along and give it a go. Players are sorted into group based on ability, so don’t worry about getting matched up with Andy Murray.
The leagues build a sense of community, which can lead to some great friendships
Nigel Billen, one of the founders of LTL, says that it isn’t just the fitness and competition that keeps people playing. “It’s not just about tennis … the leagues build a sense of community, which can lead to some great friendships being formed”.
Last year over 8,000 people played 30,000 matches in the leagues, and the numbers of people getting involved is constantly growing. So, why not head along to a local league of your own and give it a go? There’s nothing to lose, apart from a set or two!
How can I get involved?
Local Tennis Leagues are open to men and women of all standards over the age of 18. It costs £18 to enter a round, which runs for 8 weeks. To find out more, or to find a league near you, visit www.localtennisleagues.com
Tennis will only get you so far — here’s 5 other tips to get healthier this summer
- Healthy Eating
Sounds obvious, right? But still an important thing to remember. With summer comes loads of seasonal fruit and veg, so it’s a great time to get some more nutrients into your diet. Strawberries (and cream!) anyone?
Nutritional supplements, while not a replacement for good old-fashioned healthy eating, can be a great way to ensure you’re getting all the important vitamins and minerals your body needs. Fish oils are great for your joints, among many other benefits, so are a great choice for an aspiring tennis player.
We’ve been going on about the benefits of an active lifestyle, but rest is just as important. You’ll never recover from all those games without a good night’s sleep. Try and aim for eight hours so your body gets enough time to do its thing.
The different types of massage can be good for your health in various ways. It can aid your recovery, improve flexibility, and help to keep you in winning shape. Sports massage in particular might not be as relaxing as some alternatives, but it’s a great way to loosen up those muscles and joints. No pain no gain?!
It’s important to manage your stress levels, as being too wound up can wreak havoc on your health. Having fun —through a game of tennis or something else entirely — is a great way to make sure you’re keeping stress in check. Take this with a pinch of salt though, going overboard can have the opposite effect.